Chanukah is always a delicious and fun time in our home. In addition to the mitzvah of lighting the candles of course, we try to add to the festivities every single night – sometimes with gifts, sometimes with fun crafts, sometimes with games, songs, and parties, and almost always with food.
As much as we all love the traditional latkes and donuts, I try to change it up a bit. We’ve made latke pizza, Pad Thai latkes, sushi latkes, meat stuffed latkes, latkes topped with lox and runny eggs and even latke schnitzel. But this year, I wanted to be creative with sufganiot. I also absolutely hate frying – and at a certain point, I can no longer handle the oil permeating every fibre of my being, so I came up with a sufganiya that still has that delicious fluffiness but is baked and not fried. And to make it extra fun, I turned it into a giant sheet pan donut that you can cut up for your guests and they can top as they see fit – almost like a sweet focaccia donut bar!
We’ll use a traditional sufganiya dough. After it rises, we flip the dough onto a buttery baking sheet, press it down with our fingers, like a focaccia and allow to rise again, then top with more butter and bake. This yields a fluffy and delicious giant sufganiya.
Sheet Pan Focaccia Style Donut
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup carbonated water, warmed
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
10 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 and 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1. Combine sugar, warmed carbonated water and yeast. Allow to stand until it bubbles.
2. In the meantime, combine milk, 6 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla, salt and egg. Whisk to incorporate.
3. Combine yeast mixture with milk mixture. Slowly add flour until dough has formed, kneading for about 10 minutes.
4. Allow to rise until it doubles in size (if in doubt, let it rise longer).
5. Spread two tablespoons melted butter on a baking sheet. Top with dough and spread, using your hands, on baking sheet.
6. Allow to rise, covered, for about 30 to 60 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Top dough with remaining two tablespoons melted butter.
9. Once oven is hot, bake donut for about 20 minutes.
10. Top with confectioners’ sugar and whatever toppings you’d like.
I hope you love this fun twist on the traditional sufganiya this Chanukah and have a beautiful holiday together with your family and friends!
Happy Chanukah (or Hanukah or Chanuka or Hannuka….)!